Long-term budget deal gaining momentum in Senate - despite Trump's shutdown comments

Cheryl Sanders
February 11, 2018

Also on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to work out a long-term spending measure that would keep the government funded for the next two years.

That bill would then bounce to the Senate, where it probably has no chance of passing since Democrats there want any increase in the defense budget to be matched with an equal boost to non-defense spending.

The funding deal was expected to draw opposition from Republican ultra-conservative fiscal hawks and was dismissed beforehand by some Democrats who are demanding congressional action to protect from deportation hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants brought to America as children.

The bill includes a two-year extension to fund community health centers for low income Americans. In total the Bill will increase government spending by about $300 billion (€244bn) in the next two years.

Senate leaders were racing against the clock, with federal funding set to expire at midnight Thursday.

However, the budget deal still face challenge in the House, because the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi insisted that House Democrats need reassurance from Speaker Paul Ryan to allow an open debate on immigration legislation in exchange of support for the budget deal.

But Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says that approach, fully funding the Defense Department but only providing temporary money for the rest of the government, won't go anywhere in the Senate.

"I think the country's worth a debate until 3 in the morning, frankly", he added.

The mostly party-line vote sends the bill to the Senate, which appears likely to change it and send it back.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget "is now preparing for a lapse in appropriations", an OMB official said on condition of anonymity late Thursday, calling on lawmakers to get the measure to Trump's desk "without delay". Senate Republicans control with 51 votes but the legislation will need 60 votes to pass.

Across the Capitol, leaders in both parties said they were nearing a broader deal to lift the strict spending caps that have contributed to the stopgap nature of government funding bills in recent months.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Schumer focused on the new agreement as a rare moment of bipartisanship and cooperation. "Must elect more Republicans in 2018 Election!"

Democrats like Pelosi are pushing for the bill to include provisions for "Dreamers" - immigrants brought illegally to the U.S.by their parents.

Paul said that he had spoken to President Trump Thursday afternoon about the situation. Do they accept the Democratic deal, even though it would increase the deficit more than they can stomach? There's also $6 billion to combat opioid abuse and improving mental health, and $2 billion for research at the National Institutes of Health.

Other reports by iNewsToday